- Child care providers invited to apply for the third round of free technical and legal support program
- The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded $95,000 to United Way, $45,000 of which fund United for Early Care and Education
- Program partners successfully managing $2.3 million in public funding for 41 current participants
United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) Monday launched phase three of its early care and education (ECE) provider assistance program, United for Early Care and Education, inviting licensed child care providers to apply for free technical and legal support rolled out in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning with a focus on the Payroll Protection Program (PPP).
United for ECE – in partnership with Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and Agenda for Children – also offers providers access to free legal assistance, alerts about grant opportunities for small business owners, and resources to comply with federal grant and loan programs.
Phase three and the program’s ongoing efforts are funded by UWSELA and a recent $95,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich.
“With each passing day of the pandemic, parents are still struggling to access affordable child care while centers are struggling to remain viable,” said Michael Williamson, UWSELA president and CEO. “United Way is grateful for the continued support from the Kellogg Foundation and our partners to stabilize our region’s ECE network to ensure vulnerable families can access the care they need to maintain or secure employment.”
The application for phase three is open now through Friday, Sept. 25. Providers may apply online at UnitedWaySELA.org/United-ECE-Application.
Early care and education providers must:
- Be based in UWSELA’s service area, including Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes;
- Have a quality rating score of Approaching Proficient or better;
- Receive public funds to serve low-income children; and
- Want help in maintaining or obtaining loans and/or grants for your business that were designed to help businesses adversely impacted by COVID-19.
United for ECE is designed to prioritize centers who are the most in need of legal assistance and are the most at-risk of losing loan forgiveness without assistance. Priority will be given to centers that have received PPP loans and need guidance on loan forgiveness.
“We are proud to provide legal assistance to early childhood education centers in the United for ECE initiative,” said Rebecca Holmes, Staff Attorney for United for ECE at the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. “These owners/directors are primarily women of color. This demographic has historically been denied access to programs like the PPP through traditional lenders, and we are seeing again now that this demographic has been denied and underserved by lenders administering the PPP.”
Phase One and Two Successes
United for ECE welcomed 41 providers into phases one and two and is currently managing over $2.3 million in public funding, including $1.6 million in PPP loans and $674,000 in Economic Injury Disaster Loans and advances.
Since the program’s inception, its partners have helped to preserve over 250 ECE jobs and prevent all 41 centers from shuttering permanently.
“Child care educators, some of the many unsung heroes during this pandemic, continue to tirelessly put their lives and livelihoods on the line to care for our youngest learners, allowing their parents to return to work,” said Anna E. Williamson, Managing Director of the Center for Early Childhood Programs and Professional Development at Agenda for Children. “United for Early Care and Education allows these heroic educators to remain operational due to the invaluable and ongoing financial information, legal support and timely resources provided through the program.”
The College of Law also compiled an online resource guide for all child care providers to provide free access to webinars, loan calculators and a compilation of frequently asked questions.
Please contact UnitedForECE@UnitedWaySELA.org for more information on United for Early Care and Education.
About United Way of Southeast Louisiana
For 95 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit UnitedWaySELA.org. Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA.
About Agenda for Children
Agenda for Children is a 36-year-old child advocacy organization based in Louisiana with offices in New Orleans, Mandeville and Houma. It is the Louisiana Department of Education’s Child Care Resource and Referral Agency for twelve parishes in Southeast Louisiana. Child Care Resource and Referral services help families find child care that meets their specific needs, and provide free professional development to thousands of early childhood educators every year. Agenda for Children has been working closely with state agencies, employers and child care centers to make it easier for families to find childcare during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more at www.agendaforchildren.org.
About W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.